Balboa Island is a little gem south of Pacific Coast Hwy in Newport Beach. It is a perfect place to take in the local scene with boutique shopping, quaint restaurants, and a little exercise.
Growing up on Balboa Island, I spent my days riding my Big Wheels on the North and South Bayfront in my pink ruffled bikini – I was six and these were my best bikini years before the cellulite kicked in. Now that my ass won’t fit in the Big Wheels, I have to put on my big girl pants and live Balboa like an adult – throwing back mai-tais are just some of the ways I achieve this.
Here are my top 5 for balboa island:
- Taking a morning stroll (or brisk walk if you’re an over-achiever) around the entire island including Little Balboa Island which will put a little over 3 miles under your fitbit belt. Starbucks acts as my half-way point to fill up on chai lattes and do a little window shopping .
- Blondetourage Boutique is for the bohemian dreamer who coordinates her festival outfits months in advance and likes her quirky tees and flip flops for her daze off. If you go in there with shabby eyebrows – don’t fret – conveniently there is a brow bar in the back of the boutique. Double win!!
- Dad’s Donuts is a vintage staple that serves fresh, tasty donuts, frozen bananas, lotto tickets and oooo yeah, those hippo cookies. Sugar cookies frosted like back when you used to make cookies with your grandma, but now you’re not into that shit so you buy fancy ones instead – hippo cookies are famous down here. Get one and be cool!
- ” There’s no such thing as a free ride” – exactly! But the ferry only costs a $1 so quit complaining. A $1 boat ride across the bay offers nice views of the houses you can’t afford, ethereal sailboats and an oncoming ferris wheel at the Fun Zone that you just got to face your fears and ride. Also the ferry operators are really cute so there’s that bonus.
After the descent from the ferry, head on over to Harborside and take advantage of their all day happy hour (11am-7pm). With items starting at just $3, you can get tipsy for under a Jefferson. Gravy fries and their wedge salad are a blessing in $4 disguise. Also the Mai-Tais are delish – get tropical, it’s an island.